Furious 7 writer Chris Morgan has revealed the original ending of the film that was in place prior to Paul Walker’s death. With almost two decades of vehicular mayhem under its belt, the Fast and Furious franchise isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Tomorrow, the series will release its eighth installment when Fate of the Furious hits theaters. And despite middling reviews, the movie is already projected to have a massive opening weekend across the world. Considering reviews have never been where the franchise has excelled, there’s no reason to think this latest film won’t post huge global numbers like the last few entries.
Assuming all goes well at the box office, the series will continue along. We’ve been told that the latest movie kicks off a new trilogy in terms of narrative, and plans for the ninth film are already being considered. While it’s hard to imagine where else the series can go and how they can up the ante, they’ve defied the odds before. Back during the production of Furious 7, the world lost Paul Walker in a devastating accident. Everyone involved was ready to call the movie quits at that point, but in the end they rallied and crafted a finale that served as a sendoff for Walker and his character Brian. But how might the film have looked otherwise?
Collider sat down with franchise screenwriter Chris Morgan to talk about the original plans for the film before Walker’s untimely death. As for what the climax and denouement would have looked like, not a lot would have change.
“Well, the original ending, if I remember correctly, was our guys end up solving the problem and then kind of becoming—again, going more outlaw, it was sort of a happier ending that kind of ends with the insinuation that they were gonna go off onto this heist or this job. But the core issue for Brian, Paul’s character, was this kind of ‘Who am I?’ sort of question. He’s a guy who used to be a cop and in the thick of the action and a racer, and all this stuff, and now he has an amazing wife, a kid and another one on the way. Then he starts to look at his life and it’s not a midlife crisis but to say—we said it in the movie, ‘I miss the bullets, I miss the action’ and the point of the adventure was to show by the end of it that the thing that’s truly important to him is his family and being there. It wouldn’t mean that he has to stop those adventures or those things, but the context is just a little bit different, he has a different understanding of who he is at his core and what’s most important in life.”
As you can see, a lot of what went into the end of the film stayed the same. Obviously, with Walker still around, more dramatic scenes with Brian would have factored into the movie and the bittersweet climax would have likely been dialed back. But as Morgan notes, most of the beats and themes remained the same throughout the shoot.
“In regards to the story, the story actually kind of was the same. The only difference is that whereas we let Brian and Mia and their family kind of go off to just be a family and drop the action-y elements of their lives and stop risking everything when family is so important to them, otherwise we would’ve just kind of continued with Brian learning and adjusting his character a little bit.”
Throughout most of the franchise, both Brian and Dom have drifted in and out of the story, deciding whether they want to continue in the life. As such, we likely would have seen similar beats with Walker, where he has to choose between his traditional family and his more death-defying one. And while the final result was a success and fitting way to conclude Brian’s story, there was a moment when all involved though it might conclude the franchise as well.
“In the end of the movie we were kind of just leaning into kind of a different sort of adventure, but then with what happened to Paul, once that film came out and it did well and it was great, it could’ve been the end of the franchise. We actually where thinking there for a minute, ‘Maybe we just leave this, go out on a good note and leave it alone’ and we all kind of made an agreement to say that we wouldn’t revisit this unless we had a story that did something dramatically different, that was worthy of being done.”
Of course, that dramatically different story resulted in Fate of the Furious and Dom’s turn to the dark side. We’ll have to wait and see what the fallout is for that decision and how the franchise will deal with Brian’s absence in the coming installments. Until then, we’ll keep you posted on Fate of the Furious and how well it performs at the box office.